“ Mission based 3rd Person action game. Lead a team of space troopers against a lethal insect force. Equip your team with a range of weapons. „
"Outwars" is a third person shooter video game. It was first released in 1999 as a PC CD-ROM title by Microsoft Studios. In the United States, the game received an age guidance rating of "T" which deemed it suitable for ages 13 and above. The system requirements to run the game are minimal but include:
System: Pentium-133 or equivalent
RAM: 16 MB
Video Memory: 1 MB
Hard Drive Space: 25 MB
In being a typical release to the science fiction genre, aliens referred to as "The Skulls" have invaded Earth and must be liberated by the player and his computerized team who serve as marines to the "Colonial Defense Force's Marine Jump Corps". The Jump Corps is a sort of bio mechanical suit of armor which can be adjusted and equipped with the video game's varied weapons. Each stage allows the player to make adjustments based on the mission objective. Some players may find heavier weapons more suitable for total annihilation whereas speedier escapes may be complimented by lighter rapid rate of fire weapons. The suit is also equipped with a jetpack which facilitates air-based combat, but it is also this aspect which I found to be very difficult.
The control scheme is undoubtedly awkward. Outwars required the player, by default, to control both the arms and the legs of the Jump Corps suit using separate keys. Movement often became unnecessarily cumbersome but luckily the game allows identical keys to be mapped for different functions, and with some tweaking I was able to adjust my suit to move more easily using a few keys as opposed to an extensive keyboard layout. Movement is also hindered through the presence of the Jump Corps' jetpack. The jetpack provides a few moments of rechargeable fuel and use of it is required throughout each stage of play. Outwars uses an odd platform like stage design, and the requirement of "jumping" through the fluttering of the jetpack becomes a honed skill. The space between some platforms can be vast and I often found myself plummeting to my death due to the lack of fuel available to the player. With numerous attempts I found the game to be functional but the initial frustration experienced may put off some players.
The graphics of Outwars are both hit and miss. While the title features 3D graphics support, the visuals can appear to be less than stunning. I found battle sequences with several opponents to be very "choppy" in its frame rate, and eliminating aliens only led to a brief scattering of red and green pixel squares. The player's jetpack is also limited to a brief shooting of red and white lines to denote flames but they are very flat in their design. The soundtrack is also very limited. Sound effects are the clear focus of this game although they can grow to be very annoying. The bulk of the soundtrack is fixed to the "whooshing" sounds of the jetpack and various pulsating tones to denote weapon firing. In some stages, a musical score will accompany the player but these are often short and loop frequently throughout the level.
Overall, Outwars is not Microsoft's best video game offering. The lack of more polished and refined graphics and audio was somewhat of a surprise to me as the two aspects are something I've come to expect from their video games, and the gameplay experience demands numerous practice attempts before it can be deemed functional. I would not recommend it to prospective buyers.